Fear of Marketing

I love to write–I hate to market. I can’t be alone in this, but all you ever read about in articles about writing are the success stories. People who were published because they learned how to promote themselves, through queries, submissions and networking.

All I’ve ever wanted to do was write, and I don’t even mind being left in my own little world in order to do so. But I admit that there’s a part of me that needs more: I want to be read. I want to make my mark on the world, no matter how small.

I have been published a few times, but being published at all is like a drug: once experienced, you want to experience it again. And again and again. And that’s besides the need you may have to make money. Like me, you just want to be read. The money is frosting on the cake.

I wouldn’t turn down the money, but what I really want is fame. I want to become a word-of-mouth writer, to have people recommend my writing to others. But I don’t take the steps necessary to be read. I’m overwhelmed by the marketing process.

First of all, I have trouble picking out suitable markets. If I find something before I write, I get twisted into knots trying to cater my writing to that publication. If I find a market for something I’ve already written, I’m afraid it’s not quite right and will just be rejected. And it’s not so much that I fear the rejections–okay, it is partly that. But mostly I need the feedback (which you don’t usually get in rejection letters anyway). I need encouragement and validation. Publication gives you that. Hiding your work under a bushel gets you nothing.

Almost all of us have special readers: friends, family, fellow writers. But it’s easy to dismiss their judgments because they know you and might not want to hurt your feelings. The opinions of editors and unknown readers carry more weight. I’d love to get those outside opinions–I crave them, as a matter of fact. That’s one reason I write for my blogs. But how do you get readers if they don’t know you’re there?

I don’t know how many times I’ve read that if your writing is good, you will eventually get published. I tend to think that my writing must not be any good, because I’m not getting published. It hardly ever occurs to me that I can’t get published unless I put my work out there. And not in some blog that people only discover by accident.

Don’t get me wrong: I love to write posts for my blogs. Because it gives me practice, it gives me an outlet for my writer and it gives me the illusion of being published. But that’s just it: it is an illusion. I didn’t have to pass muster with any editor or make money to prove that I’m a writer.

But I have to admit that I feel like the tree that falls in the forest: if there’s no one to hear, does it make any sound?

One thought on “Fear of Marketing

  1. Hi Ellen! I can relate to your by-line withdrawl, ouch, memories of self-flagellation. It’s right up there with wanting to win the lottery but not buying the ticket. I’m learning Wayne Dyer’s teachings about you GET what you THINK about it. I’m choosing now to think only about getting out there, and not seeing any obstacles to my doing that. (Queen of Rose Colored Glasses?) Just write and put it out there, kiddo. You are brilliant. Believe it!

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